Corporate Wellness Programs make us Unwell

Corporate Wellness Programs make us Unwell

Corporate Wellness Programs make us Unwell

Sensational as it may sound, this is precisely the title of a recent publication by HBR.

The situation

Obsessing over health alone is obsessing over physical well-being. Precisely why its not intuitive for corporate leaders to know how to get Wellness programs to work optimally. Reading this book will Help.

The challenge

Less than a quarter of the employees of a large multinational corporation even participated in their global wellness program. Let alone benefiting in any significant way from it. Wellness cannot be a program. Its a lifelong happy pursuit. It has to be a culture, a mindset. Similar to quality and excellence. So for me, pursuing Wellness has to be predictive of something else(well-being). Wellness fits in perfectly with what Shawn Ackor says, “So for me, happiness has to be predictive of something else. So I’d go with the Greek definition of happiness, the ancient Greek definition, which is, “The joy that we feel striving after our potential.”

In my experience of pursuit and outcomes Wellness is the strife and well-being is the predicate.

The implication

Companies spend a lot of money, effort and time on running wellness programs. employees are not properly orientated into the rationale for these. This results in poor ROIs both financially and from a time and effort, productivity and employee morale standpoint.

The Evidence

In the article Prof Andre states ‘there’s little evidence that superfitness correlates with leadership, good management, or even productivity’.

Indeed that is obvious because:

a. Expecting sustained excellence in performance and productivity at the workplace is a marathon and not a sprint.
b. Unlike sports an office environment demands equal importance to other dimensions of wellness besides spiritual, mental and physical viz. Environmental, social and financial. The below illustration maps barriers to performance excellence and the 6 dimensions of wellness. This is why there is a difference between sports analogy and the workplace and several limitations.

(Reproduced with permission from the authors, Dr. Kerry Evers and Wolters Kluwer Health)

What you need to do

To get it right you need help. There is no silver bullet but the good news is that with adequate evidence of small pilot successes of breakthrough practises, that are measureable and sustainable, it is possible to scale and integrate Holistic Wellness into the corporate psyche and culture. Wellness pursuit has to be customized and individualized. And yes It is a Pursuit, not a program.

In summary

The hypothesis is: the most sustainable way to maintaining a net positive level of well-being outcome is getting staff to do something you want done because he/she wants to do it. Not just because the company wants it done and they don’t/can’t resonate with it. This is also how Dwight Eisenhower defined leadership.

Best wishes to you and in your pursuit of holistic Wellness!

Gurunath Hari is the author of “The 6 Dimensions, Overcome Presenteeism: Excel in work and Life”. He has over 25 years of corporate experience, including leadership and management roles. His working life started at the end of the pre-computer era and
continues to the present ‘everything-mobile’ era.

The kindle and hardcopy version of 6 Dimensions book is now available at Amazon!!

(Disclaimer: The views expressed here are the author’s own and are not endorsed by his employer or any other company)